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Expedition to Rhode Island

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

From Lewis, Monsieur Gerard came
To Congress in this town, sir,
They bow’d to him, and he to them,
And then they all sat down, sir.

Begar, said Monsieur, one grand coup,
You shall bientot behold, sir;
This was believ’d as gospel true,
And Jonathan felt bold, sir.

So Yankee Doodle did forget
The sound of British drum, sir,
How oft it made him quake and sweat,
In spite of Yankee rum, sir.

He took his wallet on his back,
His rifle on his shoulder,
And veow’d Rhode Island to attack,
Before he was much older.

In dread array their tatter’d crew,
Advanc’d with colors spread, sir,
Their fifes played Yankee doodle, doo,
King Hancock at their head, sir.

What numbers bravely cross’d the seas,
I cannot well determine,
A swarm of rebels and of fleas,
And every other vermin.

Their mighty hearts might shrink they tho’t,
For all flesh only grass is,
A plenteous store they therefore brought,
Of whiskey and molasses.

They swore they’d make bold Pigot squeak,1
So did their good ally, sir,
And take him pris’ner in a week,
But that was all my eye, sir.

As Jonathan so much desir’d
To shine in martial story,
D’Estaing with politesse retir’d,
To leave him all the glory.

He left him what was better yet
At least it was more use, sir,
He left him for a quick retreat,
A very good excuse, sir.

To stay, unless he rul’d the sea,
He thought would not be right, sir,
And Continental troops, said he,
On. islands should not fight, sir.

Another cause with these combined,
To throw him in the dumps, sir,
For Clinton’s name alarmed his mind,
And made him stir his stumps, sir.2


1 Sir Robert Pigot commanded the British forces on Rhode Island.
2 Rivington’s Gazette, October 3.